Hello all! Happy Thanksgiving to you and those close to you. I pray you have a great holiday, despite the Pandemic and lockdowns, and that God blesses you and keeps you safe and healthy during the Christmas season. It’s going to be very different than any Christmas in our lifetimes, and I’m praying the opportunities to share the Gospel are as abundant as they have been in the past. For about a decade I’ve been spending a good portion of my outreach time between Thanksgiving and New Years at Christmas in the Park, a huge holiday event in downtown San Jose. But due to Covid 19 the event has been made drive-through only. I’m not sure yet if there will be any opportunities there at all, but I’m praying God provides some. In the meantime, I’m considering other outreach opportunities, and I’d love to hear your suggestions. If you know of something going on in your area that might open opportunities to proclaim Christ, please let me know.
In the meantime, the Gospel is still going out! I’ve been on vacation for the last week or so, but ministry for the last month has been good. I’ve shared a couple stories below, plenty of pictures, and links to a couple videos. I pray they are helpful and encouraging. Let me know if you have any questions, and please consider supporting us, financially and in prayer, and we come to the end of the year. It’s been a tough one! You can find out more about supporting as at the link below. God bless!
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Two Ladies in Campbell. Fallen Away or Unsaved?
Not everyone who is excited about what we do is saved. Not everyone who calls them selves a believer truly knows Christ. In Matthew chapter 7 Jesus reminds us that many will say “Lord, Lord!” but not inherit eternal life. On the other hand, some will walk in sin for a time, then be convicted by the Spirit of God and drawn back into fellowship with Him. How can we tell which is which? Often we can’t. We can make make educated guesses and examine the fruit of the Spirit, but only God knows ultimately. But saved or unsaved, what people need is to hear the Gospel proclaimed and to be called to repentance.
I think two conversations from the last month illustrate this well. They happened weeks apart, but both on the same corner in downtown Campbell. The first was with an older lady. She saw my sketch board and literature, saw the tracts, and was excited to talk about her church background. She even knew several folks from my church, which is only a few blocks from where we stood. She seemed to have been involved in different churches for many years. Sadly she was also clearly drunk, and using atrocious language. I tried to listen to her, and encourage her toward the things of the Lord, but eventually had to call her to repentance for her sinful behavior. I tried to do so gently, letting her know I was concerned for her. But as soon as I did so she turned to me with incredible anger, and cursed me out roundly before walking away. Please pray for her.
The second conversation was with a young lady who was probably the same age as my older daughter (21 or so). She and a friend also saw the sketch board, and after receiving a tract recognized it as from Living Waters, evangelist Ray Comfort’s ministry. I received my first open air ministry from Ray and his team about 12 years ago. She was excited at what we were doing, but after a bit of conversation it became clear that although she knew the Gospel message, she had no assurance of her salvation. She said she knew about Christ, and had grown up in church, but was worried because she had been living an ungodly lifestyle, and had walked away from church. Again, I gently called her to repentance, encouraging her to get back into fellowship with other believers who could help her grow and keep her accountable. Unlike the first lady, she did not go away angry. She went away thankful and convicted. Please pray for her as well.
Two ladies, both with church backgrounds. Both called to repentance, but with wildly different results. Which one is saved, and which one not? Ultimately, I don’t know. But 2 Timothy 2:24-26 says “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil”. That’s what I tried to do. One lady appeared to leave repentant and the other left self righteous. Only God know the final result. Please pray He has mercy on both of them.
The Homosexuality Question
The question of homosexuality comes up in Gospel conversations more than any other. The answer is clear from scripture, but the emotions surrounding it can make discussions tense. The Christian community in general has done a less than stellar job in addressing it, and there is anger in a lot of LGBTQ folks. Much of that anger stemming from their own sinful attitudes and rebellion against God, but some has grown out of mistreatment they have received from those among us who have treated them badly, or out of ignorance. Because of that, I try to be direct, but gentle when I speak to them.
A recent such conversation happened at a local farmers market. With so many public areas slowing down or shut down completely, I’ve been visiting more farmers markets. Healthy food is something people need, pandemic or not. I’d visited this market in Sunnyvale before, but not since the Covid lock-downs started. It was quite busy, and other than the masks everyone wore felt almost normal. Tracts went out well, and I had several good conversations. The last one was with two young ladies. The big question for them was the subject of homosexuality, and at least one of them stated she was a lesbian. I started with 1 Corinthians 6, which lists 9 sins, one of which is homosexuality. I find it gives very good common ground, since I have not struggled with homosexuality, but am guilty of most of the other sins listed. Once we’re on the common ground of sin, we can look at a common solution to the problem. When asked why private sexual conduct matters, if it’s just about a different kind of love, I talked about God’s stated design for gender and sex. Both are good, and meant to be enjoyed, but designed and commanded to be enjoyed in a particular context, and for a distinct purpose. And since God is the designer, He has a right to define that purpose.
After a while one of the young ladies got frustrated, probably because she wasn’t able to trip me up, and went to the “hateful” argument. What I was saying attacked people, and was hateful, she said. This is common retort, often used by people to make their opponent feel guilty. Don’t fall for it. Difficult truths can certainly be shared badly, but that doesn’t equal hate. In fact, as I explained to them, if scripture is true (and it is), the kindest thing we can do for someone in sin is to share the truth with them, so that they might be rescued from God’s judgement. If you truly care for someone, you want to see them saved.
At the end, the majority of the conversation was very positive, and I think God used it to speak to the girls. I gave them my web site and recommended they look up Rosaria Butterfield on YouTube (her testimony is amazing, and I keep copies of one of her books in my car to give away). Both thanked me before they left. Please pray for them.
Some pics and videos from other recent outreaches
A recent Gospel Presentation in Monterey – https://www.facebook.com/brentenpowers/videos/10158723822464650/
A recent radio broadcast in Santa Cruz. This one was also broadcast over Facebook Live – https://www.facebook.com/dwellontruth/videos/697646337795937/
A presentation on Open Air Campaigners and Sunday message at a church near Sacramento – https://www.facebook.com/thebridgeonline/videos/849070202496512
These are tentative, so contact me if you are interested in joining me for any of them.
Home Church Sunday School – Sunday, November 22nd, 9:30AM to 10:30AM
Evergreen Farmers Market Outreach – Wednesday, November 25th, 9AM to 12PM
Black Friday Outreach @ Valley Fair/Santana Row intersection – Friday, November 27th, 10AM to 2PM
Christmas in the Park Outreach/Recon – Friday, November 27th, 5:30PM to 9PM
Note: This location has changed, so I have no idea what the outreach possibilities will be. Please pray!!
Monterey Waterfront Outreach – Saturday, November 28th, 2PM to 6PM
Home Church Sunday School – Sunday, November 29th, 9:30AM to 10:30AM